A photo of the bus stop nearest our apartment but there was no sign indicating a stop; that was the norm from what we had seen in Corfu and was terribly frustrating for tourists trying to navigate the city and island using public transportation.
Hotel Frini: The abandoned hotel that was the unmarked bus stop when coming from town that, at night, looked very spooky indeed. There was also very limited bus service not only to and from the small towns near Corfu Town itself on Sundays but also to the towns in other parts of the island.
Since we were now back to having two full days left on the island because of the cancelled strike, our best option was to visit today the town of Paleokastriska on the western side of Corfu as that fit in best with the bus schedule. Since we had well over an hour to wait for the ongoing bus once we got to town, we had plenty of time to get a partial refund for the Athens-bound bus and ferry ticket at least so all was not wasted.
Paleokastriska was about an hour’s from Corfu Town along some narrow roads but the views were stunning. The very green hills ended with crystal blue waters of the sea. Once we arrived in the central square, we could hear immediately the service being held in the tiny Greek Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas right by the harbor.
I went over there immediately while Steven checked out boat tours. There were people spilling out of the door as the church was so packed with the faithful on the Sunday morning.
Two minutes later, Steven ran to get me saying a boat was leaving in a few minutes for a tour of three caves. What a gorgeous day to be out on a boat seeing the caves near the beach.
Blue Eye Cave was the first cave we stopped at. The boatman threw out bits of bread that the fish eagerly jumped up to eat.
The combination of crystal-blue water, rocky cliffs, bright blue skies, interesting caves and peaceful waters made for a lovely time on the water.
Rovina Beach was where we had taken the boat tour from just a bit earlier.
Overlooking the rugged west coast and perched at the very top of the mountain, was the Monastery of Paleokastritsa. Although founded during the 13th century, the present, pastel-hued monastery was rebuilt after a fire some 500 years later. The monastery was built on two levels. The church was on the upper level and so were the bell tower and the wishing well in the center of the inner courtyard.
At the entrance an inspirational quote from the Bible said, "Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty.” A yellow flag with an eagle on it welcomed us to the monastery. I wonder what the significance is of that flag.
There were even more icons in a little museum occupying the former olive press, including the disarticulated skeleton of a whale, while potted plants plus cascading bougainvillea filled the courtyard and the arcaded passageways around it.
At the lower level we found the monastery’s old olive oil mill, which became a souvenir shop selling extra virgin olive oil, soap, wine and candies produced by the half-dozen monks that still live here.
Even so, it was an extraordinary place and we enjoyed every moment we spent atop the bluff admiring the stupendous views, taking in the sounds of waves crashing against the rocks below and the wind whistling through the trees.
Our view while eating lunch: